The importance of a robust IT network in the home cannot be underestimated.
In short, it underpins everything else and determines not only the level of customer satisfaction but also that of the installation and support engineers, none of whom want to be returning to site again and again to fix problematic networks - that’s a bad place to be for all concerned.
To succeed with networks, there are just a few basic rules to follow:
Not all Routers are equal:
Especially those which come free, from your provider, when you sign up with them. ISP routers are built on a budget, have limited features and are not designed to handle all of the connected devices in a professionally installed smart home. Beneath the unassuming plastic cover and blinking lights, routers are the beating heart of the modern technological home. They have a lot of different tasks to perform and they need the capacity to cope. This is where professional routers come in, with performance and reliability as standard. Insist on using them, no matter how small the project.
There’s Wi-Fi and there’s good Wi-Fi:
Deploying a seamless high performance Wi-Fi network throughout a large property requires very careful selection of hardware and great attention to detail. Not all Wi-Fi products are as good as they claim to be so find a winning vendor and stick with them. Install the right system in the correct manor and the system will simply disappear in the customer’s eyes, allowing them to use and enjoy the technology in their home with ease.
Keep the data flowing:
Keeping the data flowing on a network is paramount. The system needs to be designed and installed in such a way that prevents any single device from impacting on the performance of others, even when everything is being used to the max. To do this successfully requires a deep understanding of the connected products and how they operate and interact with other devices on any given network. You will also need to predict and make provision for different use cases over time, not just the demands of devices witnessed while on site. Peak time for a network is normally in the evening after then engineers have left!
The importance of remote support:
When issues do occur, a means of remote support is a lifesaver. It allows systems to be checked and serviced at a moment’s notice and turns big fixes into small ones. On most occasions the customer will have no idea what you did to resolve the problem which is then rapidly forgotten as the phone hangs up and their technology performs once again.
When it’s time to upgrade:
When hardware does eventually reach the end of its useable life, the customer will be expecting a quick and painless upgrade process followed by the same dependability they have become accustomed to with the newly installed hardware. Do not stray from the rules at this point. Keep the customers experience a consistent one and make the transition as seamless as possible for them. They will expect nothing less from you.
If you master all of the above elements and deploy them on every installation, you will have a satisfied and content customer base, plenty of repeat business and referrals flowing in. You will also have a happy life and free time at weekends while all those reliable customer networks are happily working away. If you ignore these rules then it could be a very different story!
Kevin Mayes, Smart Home Installer.
Martins Hi Fi, Norwich